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My Sexual Abuse Story…
Recently Lifetime aired a 6 part docuseries : Surviving R. Kelly. The limited series featured some of the women that were sexually abused by the R & B singer over the course of 30 years.
As a surivior of sexual abuse, it was a tough watch. I didn’t make it all the way through as I was triggered from the first episode,. So after talking things through with my girlfriend, a lot of holding, sweet forehead kisses, and a heavy cuddling/crying session and I felt like I needed to tell you guys about it. I needed to reliquish this control I am apparently still dealing with and speak, there are things that I have never told a soul so grab some snacks and buckle in because this is going to be a long ride. I am going to add gifs to sort of break up the heaviness. 🙂
I want to say that I was outright harassed my entire life by men. I couldn’t leave the house without dirty old men trying to get my attention. Telling me how pretty I am in a very gross way. I feel like this behavior is just ignored in the black community… We just overlook the neighborhood perverts and at most tell out girls to stay away from so and so house. So as you can see this problem goes well beyond the behavior of one entertainer, the whole age ain’t nuthin but a number mentality has led to the outright rape of countless black girls.
Picture It, Indianapolis, Indiana 1991
I was 10 or 11 years old. I didn’t have friends and was kind of the odd kid in the family. I didn’t run and play like other kids. I got my period when I was 9 and by this age I was a wearing a C Cup bra and feeling very self concious about it too. Before I really get into the story here, let’s set up just who 11 year old Erica was. I was a chubby kid and was teased everyday for being light skinned. Yep, that happens too. Ok, so my self estee, is in the toilet and no one is really trying to inspiring me, or just telling me I am worthy of love. You see my Mom was a great Mom, kids don’t come with an instruction manual, and as a Mom right now I see kids remember events through the lens of their comprehension at the time. Anyway, I was kind of a bad ass. I was superr smart but always in trouble in school… You know with the constant teasing I developed a mentality that I had to be a badass to appear tough and things wouldn’t escalate. Kids who feel they don’tr get the love and attention they want will crave it and find it in unhealthy places, gangs, street life, or in the arms of a predator.
My First Encounter
Oh boy, here we go. My Aunt was married to this guy… We’ll call him Uncle G. Ok so I really liked Uncle G. He was like the cool uncle. No, he never gave me drugs or let me drink, not that I was remotely interested in that sort of thing. No, he was just fun to be around. My siblings and I loved to go to my Aunt’s house, there wasn’t a whole lot to do but it was fun to just get out of the house. We frequently slept over and all camped out in the den since it was a 1 bedroom duplex. One night we were all sleeping, I was curled up on the couch, My oldest sister was in the recliner, and my brother was on the floor. I woke up to the feeling of someone rubbing on my face. My face was in someone;’s lap instead of the pillow I feel asleep on. As I began to stir I hear Uncle G telling me to lay still and I do so. I think to myself why is he rubbing his thumb up and down my cheek…. I had heard about sex by this point, I was having periods and we did that whole reproduction thing in school.
I realized that what was rubbing my cheek was too soft to be a thumb.
Yes, Uncle G had my head in his lap and was rubbing his penis on my face. I was mortified. i was disgusted. I couldn’t move… My brother and sister were right there and I couldn’t speak. I am sure he threatend me but I really don’t think I could scream if I tried. In my head I pushed him away or jumped up and ran into my Aunt’s Room and tell her everything that happended but I could not move. I don’t remember if I was restrained or just so horrofied I couldn’t move or speak.
Lesson Learned That Day
I don’t own my body. I can’t control what happens to it. I would shy away from Uncle G at family functions only to have my mother or aunt force me to Hug Him. To actually allow him to touch me at all was so sickening. There were a handful of other encounters that year, he made it himself VERY available to pick me up from school when I was sick or he eneded my help with the garden etc… you get the idea. I don’t know why I never told anyone. I was in trouble a lot like I said at this time and really believed that no on would believe me. Every event ended with him pulling over on some dead end side street and me sitting on his lap, jostled around… you get the idea,. Now that I am older I really feel like he was working his way towards an all out rape, but just this rubbing and touching made me feel sick. I stopped going to my Aunt’s house. It ended but the scars were still there , and if Iam honest, are still present today,.
FastForward to 1994
So I’m a freshman in high school and not much has changed mentally. I’m still in that I’m not good enough no one will ever love me arena. A teenage girl’s brain is an ugly place. One day I took the city bus home from school because the late bus took forever to get me home. I catch this older guy sort of checking me out, ok now I am a teenage girl and so I was freaking out on the inside. Boys never took interest in me because word had spread… I was a virgin and wasn’t giving it up. Will call this guys “Steve” Ok so Steve comes over to talk to me, acutally had my text books in my hands as my bookbag broke, and he asked me what grade I was in and I told him I was a freshmen. He was apparently cool with that as he wrote his number on my notebook and we talked for a bit then he got on his bus. Now, I want to go on record to say, He looked older but not that much older. I didn’t know he was 23 so I called him as soon as I got home, because this handsome guy thought I was cute. Like What?! I was so eager for love and affection in those days.
A big misconception for people who have never been sexually abused as a child is that the predator just goes straight for it. No, there is this fucked up grooming period where they will actually show interest in you as a person and finds out exactly what you need, what’s missing from your life so they can fill that void and get all in your head. For me it was love, affection, sweet nothings, and showing me he really cared about me. It was during this grooming period that I learned Steve was actually 23. I was 14. It all started with touching again. A whole lot of I love yous and I want to make you feel goods, and this how you show me you love me. You get the picture – classic manipulation. I was wrapped around his little finger and hung on his every word. He had me exactly where he wanted me. He didn’t want to take it. He wanted to condition me to hand it over willingly.
I was Steve’s personal sex toy for the better part of a year… maybe year and a half. I quit going to school a lot of days and was at his house. I even ran away from home and stayed with him for about 2 weeks. I was so far down the rabbit hole, smoking weed, drinking, and watching porn all provided by Steve. It is a miracle I actually remember any of it. Now Steve didn’t live alone, his dad and cousin lived there too. and they both attempted to touch me however in my mind Steve was my boyfriend and I wouldn’t betray him. I told him about it and we both agreed I would stay in his room with the door locked while he was at work. So that’s what I did. I wouldn’t eat anything but the random junk food stuff I would get at the gas station, then Steve would bring me something home from work to eat. I existed like this for a while until I called my cousin and told her where I was so she could come visit and maybe come hand out during the day so I wasn’t so Isolated. My cousin the street smart one who saw this situation for what it was called my mom and told her where I was. The police came and picked me up as a runaway but no one ever addressed the fact that I was staying in a house with 3 grown men who weren’t related to me whatsoever. After This I saw Steve less and less until I stopped hearing from him at all.
The Other Girl
Sometime later I met this girl who exactly my age. She transferred to my school after she moved. Through our conversation she also knew Steve and our stories were almost identical. I was broken hearted. I really felt like I was special to him and her comes this other girl who he treated the same way. Now at this time I didn’t realize he was a sexual predator who liked going after under age girls., No I felt like he lied to me, like he cheated on me. I was groomed so completely by him that I never even considered he taken advantage of me. I felt there was something lacking with me. I spiraled out of control from there, but that is another story.
So that is my story. There is a lot more to it, but this post is already long af so I’ll save some of that for another time. I just wanted to get that out and I guess, this is where I feel safest to talked about it. I really hope that you guys don’t really mind the departure from out fun beauty products, hacks and tips etc, but with current events I really felt compelled to tell you guys my story, because I’ve seen a lot of unsavory comments on teenage sexual abuse victims, classic victim blaming. I hope that my story can help others to view these stories with some empathy.
How Can I Help
Be approachable, be a resource for young girls. A trustworthy adult can be vital in ending childhood sexual assualt. I never had anyone I could just tell. I knew if I told my mom she would call me fast and probably punish me for it… now was that true… probably not but in my head at the time it’s what I felt. We have to start calling a spade a spade and stop blaming the girls for the actions of adults. Children are not capable of giving consent. This is rape. We need to stop protecting someone who is a sexual predator regardless of their celebrity status. We need to let it be known that this will not stand in our community.
If you are a victim of sexual assualt and need to speak to someone please contact RAINN